Tag Archives: gratitude

early stages

Glad List- #7

Hi Friends,

Day 7. Seven days of gratitude for all sorts of things, and it’s been fun. Since it’s been such an enjoyable experience, I’ll start the list again in a few days. (The next few days will be filled with work, more work, a short out of town trip to Gunma, and one or two parties over the weekend– a good week!).

Today’s topic of gladness is something that the very cold days might’ve given you a clue was coming–

1) On MSN.com’s Health section yesterday, they had an article on the myths and facts of home remedies that fight common ailments. One of the remedies listed the benefits of onions; the experts stated that onions were especially effective in chicken soup. You know where my mind went, right? Yes. A pot of chicken soup.

When I got in from my morning classes, and my run to Precce, I cooked up a pot of chicken soup. They say the third time’s the charm, and whoever they are aren’t lying, because it was the best one yet. I cleaned out the vegetable aisle, and the soup contains not only onions, but okra, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, leeks, mushrooms, chicken, thyme, bay leaves, and some green things that I don’t know the name of.

You know those people that won’t stop showing you pictures of their baby, even though you’ve expressed no interest? That’s how it is with my soup, but I just can’t help but show you… it’s so beautiful. (By the way, don’t be offended that I compared a pot of chicken soup to your baby. Surely, you understand creation, etc….).

Early stages of the process.
Early stages of the process.Take care,


Addendum: From MSN health 12/4/12:

Your mom or grandmother may have raised you to believe that there’s something magical about chicken soup when it comes to treating a cold or flu, but is it true? Yes, says Dr. Sharp. “Turns out, there’s some real science behind this,” he says, explaining that chicken soup may have a positive effect on the immune system with something called neutrophil aggregation — which means “bringing white blood cells together.” White blood cells help fight off infection in your body and are integral to helping you feel better faster. While it’s not clear if other broths or hot beverages have similar immune system benefits, Dr. Sharp says hot liquids like tea and broth can help reduce the symptoms of a cold or flu virus, relieving sinus and throat pain.

Glad List- #6

Today’s been such a quiet day– quiet, but easy and relaxing. When I got home, I was thinking, “I have to write my glad list, but nothing happened. What will I write?”

I wondered: Should the “glad” thing of the day be that it didn’t rain; or that my morning started with Tiease advising me to wear long johns, a small but sweet thing; or that two of my favorite students took lessons today, so I had two hours and forty minutes of enjoyable conversation; or that my last student didn’t show, so I could leave early; or that my sushi bento from Takashimaya was fresh and an ocean of goodness; or that I’m now surrounded by warmth (literally); or that Juliano introduced me to ,  a cheerful, upbeat Brazilian song espousing pure adoration for Tokyo (and many places in-between), and it makes me smile every time I give it a listen.

Pretty soon, it hit me, that nothing has to happen; the whole point is to be glad.

1) I’m glad that I came upon this quote on the Osho page on FB:


Feel thankful,

and never demand in your prayers

because all demand is complaint deep down.

Just thank.

Let every prayer be only that of thankfulness, a



Never ask, and you will be surprised:

continuously gifts start coming-

gifts that you had asked for and gifts

that you never asked for.


Take care,



p.s Warning: Don’t listen to this song if you don’t want to dance or feel joyful.

Me gusta tokio
 Mira los karnako
 Me gusta tokio

……………………………..me gusta jamaica
 Me gusta brasil me gusta guiné bissau
 Me gusta españa me gusta africana
 Me gusta istambul me gusta los andes
 Me gusta barretos me gusta peru
 Me gusta barramas me gusta pequim
 Me gusta moscou me gusta lo reggae
 Me gusta lo samba e o rock and roll

The Glad List- #5

Hi Friends,

As most of you know, when I moved to the U.S at eleven, I wasn’t very happy. It didn’t really help matters that I moved in the fall, and the temperatures were below eighty degrees, soon to be below seventy. It also didn’t help matters that I was a still developing (ok, not even yet starting to develop) underweight kid in a junior high school of girls who looked twenty-five. Plus, my father insisted that I dress and look my age: no makeup, no nail polish, no jewelry, etc. etc. Now, really!

There were two things that made me extremely happy in Long Island though– Pizza Hut and Dominos (in that order). The year I left Jamaica, there was one pizzeria– Shakey’s. For some insane reason, I hated pizza then. I thought it was weird and too cheesey. However, when I moved to L.I, there was pizza at every sleepover, birthday party, and lunch. Pizza became not only my best friend, but my most fulfilling and filling relationship to date.

As I told you a month ago, it came to my attention that I had to cut dairy from my diet (or face the consequences), and I can’t remember ever feeling so sad by any news. However, I missed my best friend, and decided that we should meet up tonight, even if she hurts me to the core. So, tonight, I’m glad for:

1) My small Pizza Hut cheese pizza (just a few slices will be consumed) and my small Haagen-Daz green tea ice-cream. My tongue’ll be so pleased, as “this is the moment” to eat pizza.


Take care,


The Glad List- #2

Hi Guys,

Yesterday was the start of the glad list, and it seems today it’s almost too easy. It’s been given to me on a platter, — PAYDAY!–, so I figured I’d need to look elsewhere. When is hard-earned (or easily-earned) money ever something not to grin about?

1) Tokyo was ten degrees warmer today than yesterday. It rained, but I was in a deep sleep dreaming about driving while it was, because I had no morning classes…

2) Work didn’t start until 5:30 pm today, and what was done today could hardly be called work. Had two students for forty minutes, one cancellation, and another class in another location. After the last lesson of the day, went with M and A, who were also working in Roppongi, to a neighborhood bar for one drink. One Glenlivet on the rocks. It is payday after all. (Do people with a lot of money get excited about payday, or is it just another day for them?)

3) It’s ridiculous that I’ve been studying French for umpteen years, and can barely speak a lick– despite Rosetta Stone, despite Alliance Francaise, despite books and cds. There’s absolutely no excuse. However, a very kind co-worker gave me a lesson today, and promises to continue. (It is a language school after all). With dedication and perseverance, French will become as native to me as pig Latin… um, as English.

See you tomorrow,


p.s I know I wrote three things and not one, but why not?

2) Thank You (my Thanksgiving list in no particular order)

Hi All,

We all know everyday’s a day to be thankful for something, because only in the practice of gratitude can we be appreciative of our lives. It’s amazing how days grow richer/fuller/better when we take a minute to give thanks for the smallest things. You certainly don’t need me to tell you what you already know, so I’ll move on. Here’s my list this year… all small and not so small things that have created an ocean of good feeling.

1) New Friends and “Almost” Friends. When in a foreign country, if you’re not careful, it can be really easy to isolate oneself. As you guys know, it’s in my nature to periodically withdraw; however, I’ve fought the urge to stay home now that it’s cold (quiet never gets boring for me), and accept all invitations that come my way. Good decision. Some quality time has been spent with good people. Speaking of good people–hold on to your hats– when I told LD that I was running out of money this month, he bought me breakfast. In related crazy news, Bubby’s, in Yaesu, now only serves one pancake for breakfast. Yes, one. If IHOP tried that, there’d be riots all across America.

2) Luck/ Blessings. Sometimes I wonder aloud, usually to my mother, how I’ve managed to be so lucky. She tells me that I’m not lucky that I’m blessed. Having Skype, and being able to talk to my mother regularly is something to be thankful for. (I still don’t understand why she likes me so much. Every time I call her, you’d think we hadn’t recently spoken.)

Last week, I told T that I was coming down with a cold, and today she gave me a box of Vicks Medicated Drops. The thoughtfulness behind that gift is enormous.

When I complained to SL (who took me to Shizuoka months ago) that the one thing that drives me crazy about Japan is the crappy, non-fluoride toothpaste, the next day, he brought me a tube of Crest (that he’d brought back from a visit home to Canada). He placed it in my locker, and you’d have thought that I found gold. Thoughtfulness.

My student S went to Ibaraki prefecture for a few days, and returned with a box of pear-shaped treats. Thoughtfulness.

3) Diana Ross. If you guys are tired of me writing or posting about Diana Ross, I’ll tell you now, it’ll never stop. (The absolute embodiment of glamour, style, and beauty). By chance, I came upon her song catalog and found a tune I’d never heard before. Can you believe it?!  The song, Something on My Mind, penned by Ashford and Simpson, must’ve been an instant classic.

It has already been downloaded from iTunes, played at least 50,000 times while I’m in the shower/walking to work/doing just about anything… and I’m convinced my neighbors must love it too. (Joking.) It’s on repeat right now.

4) Soup. I’m not kidding, when I say that I’ve been cooking soup on a regular. All vegetables have become my best friends, even those with names and origins unknown. My latest pot contained okra, mushrooms, sprouts, chicken (of course– can soup exist without chicken?), carrots, onions, some white stuff, and kale. Ri-dic-u-lous. My new thing is to add tofu when it’s done. Please know that when you come over for dinner, you’ll be getting soup.

5) Old Friends. When I wonder to Tan and Val on Skype about how I feel lucky in all areas (great job, wonderful students, cool people around, lovely, underpriced apt, etc.), all areas except romantic love, and I feel that I must be cursed there, they listen (patiently) and give me all types of pep talks that end with “Chill,” and “Everything happens in the right time.” In all honesty, I’ve realized that I’ve focused too much energy on that aspect of my life, and it’s necessary to move out of that zone, which easily leads to “Woe is me,” and “Why me?”

Back to Ms. Ross– On YouTube, I, recently, watched several of her interviews, from the early eighties, where she openly stated that she was looking for a good man to be a part of her already complete life. Her honesty really impressed me, and I vowed that I’d be just as truthful as to my wishes and hopes. How can we get what we want if we don’t put it out there?

6) Blog Readers. Thank you followers, new and old. I don’t know who you are, but I really appreciate that you’re reading. Please drop me a line sometime (especially you in Zaventem, Belgium).

Have a great day of gratitude!


Letter from Tokyo: “Rejoice, Rejoice!”

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19 (The Bible)

Dear Friends,

Two minutes ago while I was eating a juicy, delicious grapefruit (Hi DB!), the fullness of this life hit me. Maybe when your belly’s full your life seems full(er)?

Reasons to Rejoice:

1) My housemate told me that 2012 is the last year of existence. I haven’t seen the movie, nor have I paid any attention to why 2012 is supposed to be the last year for the world, but if it is, even more reason to rejoice. Now, we can really live everyday as if it’s our last. Now, we can really appreciate every breath/every loved one/every carnal pleasure/every bite of life. I love the urgency behind the thoughts of the last days.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. – R.E.M

2) How easy life is with so many teachers/gurus/prophets to  guide the way. We’re not stumbling in the dark, are we? The path has been laid out; the rules of the universe are there. So simple really: Love, Kindness, Forgiveness, Empathy, Compassion. What can we do? Let’s do it.

A few years ago, a few close girlfriends and I went on a “Positivity Diet.” For one week, there was to be no complaining/bitching/bellyaching/griping. It’s difficult, but once we got into the swing of it, we could feel the rewards. We were centered, focused, on the way… then we stopped. Life has a way to bring you down if you let it. Let’s start the positivity diet again (let me know how it works for you).

3) What did Charles Darwin say about survival of the fittest? Just being here means that we made it; we’re the survivors. My friend V recently sent me an email about a breast cancer marathon that she’s participating in. Now, there’s a serious life curveball. (What an understatement). However, when others are fighting for their lives physically or psychologically, it really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? Let’s get involved. (V, my donation’s coming!).

4) We are each other’s gifts, aren’t we? I’ve met so many wonderful people virtually and otherwise. A few I’ll meet soon, and some never, but there’s a network of good-feeling spreading everywhere. When I went to the temple the other day with RT, we waited for about twenty minutes to get to the front so we could offer our prayers for the new year. He told me the best way to pray is not to ask God for anything, but to simply say “Thank you.”

I’m off to work now, but just wanted to say “Thank you!”